Goodwood Revival - 12th / 14th September 2014

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I'd been invited to ride in the Goodwood Revival again this year with my current sponsor Ian Garbutt, Ripley Land, on his immaculate 1954 Long Stroke Manx Norton. I had the opportunity to have a run round on "Geoff" at the Donington Park round of the Lansdowne series so I could get used to the right hand gear change, only four gears etc. All went well on the test so I was looking forward to racing at Goodwood.

 

The race is a two part endurance style event with a Le Mans running start and half way through the 30 minute race swapping over to a team mate to finish the race, my team mate this year was James Haydon.

I know James well and have raced against his in the past so knew he is a top runner and lovely bloke too.Having met up with the team on Thursday evening at Lord March's gaff where he throws a Champagne reception, welcomes the riders and drivers, puts on a celebrity cricket match and Spitfire air display, you know, the usual party stuff!!

 

Friday was practice day but this year we only had one 30 minute session to get settled in and both get used to the circuit, we both have ridden there before so expected no dramas.

 

I was first out on the bike and all went well however I felt the engine seemed slow and was struggling to rev out in top gear, reporting this to Steve and Rob back in the pits while James was having his time on the bike. We were in pole position at this point but unfortunately after a few laps James came rolling down the pit lane with a dead engine.

He felt the engine had seized, the boys jumped into action and restarted the motor and all seemed well, there was a bit of oil kicking about bit that's what Classic bikes do! Overnight we discussed what we thought had gone wrong, re jetted the carb, went over the rider change over etc, drank some nice wine and went to bed.

 

Saturday race day was dry and sunny, James was going to start and hand over to me so we were all excited and enjoying the pomp and ceremony of this great event.

 

James made a great start and was running in fourth place but after 10 minutes seemed to be struggling for speed and dropped to fifth, then as he past the pits the motor spluttered and died.

Rolling to a halt just after the pit we ran and push the bike bike to the pits and looked to see what had happened.

Attempts to start the motor failed as it would backfire and splutter with oil and smoke coming out of everywhere, our race was over and it looked at this point that the weekends racing was too.

 

Steve sprang into action back at the garage and found the clip holding the slide needle had snapped dropping the needle into the bottom of the carb, a small component failure at the end of the day but at least we were going to get out in Sundays race.

 

That night we were invited to Lord March's Party in full costume with the theme of the lost city of Atlantis, a fantastic event held in a aircraft hanger at the circuit dressed up with amazing underwater effects with over 1400 people there, great food and drink all night and a live dance show thrown in, what a party but there were a few sore heads the next day.

Sundays race and was my turn to start, running was never my strong suit but I managed to get away well but the motor bogged down and struggled to pick up which meant I was about 12-15th into turn one.

I knew I had to get my finger out in these opening laps to get onto the heals of the leading pack, so I did some late braking moves and had a few slides and ended up crossing the line for the first time in sixth place. Over the next few laps I had a belting battle with Scott Smart for fifth place however the engines performance was dropping off and struggling to pull top gear.

 

The pit board to change over came out and the next lap I came in and handed over to James, a good change and we were still in the hunt for a top six place. We could see James too was down on speed but thankfully Geoff kept going and we ended up in 6th place, both James and I were covered in oil Geoff too and looking in the oil tank there was almost nothing left in there.

Ian and the team were chuffed to get a finish as after the first race it looked a bit grim but in the end Team Ripley Land had a great Goodwood Revival weekend.

Thanks to Ian and the whole team for putting so much into the weekend, and to "Geoff" for keeping going to the end.

Bring on next years event!

Goodwood Revival

 

11th - 13th September 2015.